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Gennady Golstein

May 20, 2013

IMG_1494[1]Gennedy Golshtein is one of the greatest saxophone players and teachers in      Russia.  He is also one of the most charming and generous people I have ever met.  Gennedy met with Makbal and myself at the Music Academy where he teaches.  We looked through photo albums from his five or six decade long career: photos of him with Wynton Marsalis; in NYC at WC Handy’s grave and Duke Ellington’s grave (where he scooped a bit of soil to plant with a tree in Petersburg in honor of the Duke); and jamming with musicans back behind the Iron Curtain.  (photo from Red and Hot by S. Frederick Starr; photo by Natan Leites)



Gennedy told a story about a baritone saxophone that a man named Friedman played.  Friedman had been exiled in Riga (in Latvia) in the 1950s or 60s and when he got out he bought a saxophone that was buried under an apple tree.  Friedman dug up the saxophone and took it to Moscow.  That saxaphone was then sold to Sergei, one of Gennedy’s students, who brought it back home to St. Petersburg.

I am honored to have been able to meet such a jazz legend.  The two hours that Gennedy spent with me pouring over photos is like getting to sit down with Gerry Mulligan or Stan Getz and have them share their stories.  Oh…and Gennedy also brought his dog, Lucy, who runs beside him as he pedals off on his bicycle.


Later that afternoon we got to sit down with Sergei (who was carrying the legendary saxophone) in a restaurant and hear what it’s like being an up and coming jazz legend in Petersburg.  Sergei is in his late 20s and is co-director of the Jazz Philharmonic Big Band.  In addition to being a player, he is also an arranger.  Igor Butman (perhaps the most famous name in contemporary Russian jazz) performed on Sergei’s latest CD (which I hope to find at JFC).  Sergei recommended some many jazz artists to listen to.  He also teaches at the Music Academy to support his art.  Sergei promised to meet with me again later in the week, I cannot wait to continue our conversation…

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